RG-32M mine-hardened patrol vehicle
South Africa's leading designer and manu-facturer of armoured vehicles, BAE Systems Land Systems OMC, has had to rearrange its production facilities to meet the needs created by its recent hat-trick of signi- ficant international orders for its products.
"We have already had to employ 150 new contract workers to meet the demand," reports company international marketing director Tony Savides. Since late February, the company has announ-ced orders for 148 RG-31 medium mine-protected vehicles from the US army, an order for 102 RG-32M mine-hardened patrol vehicles from the Swedish army and an order for 30 RG-12 public-order vehicles from the Italian national militarised police force, the Carabinieri. The announcements of the latter two orders were made only five days apart, in the second half of May. The Swedish order is worth R180-million, the Italian order R64-million and the US order R468-million (of which Land Systems OMC will get a substantial portion). In total, this comes to 280 armoured vehicles - exports on a scale that is unprecedented for the South African industry since the Second World War - worth R712-million. South Africa supplied hundreds of locally-designed and -built armoured cars to the South African and British armies in the Middle East and North Africa during the war. Of the three production lines, two already exist - the one for the RG-12s and that for the RG-31s; the new line will produce the RG-32Ms for Sweden. These orders are likely to be followed by others. The company is currently involved in a number of new light armoured-vehicle programmes in Europe, including Belgium, Ireland and some of the Baltic states. The company has already built six preproduction RG-12s for the Carabinieri, and the announcement of the follow-on order for 30 full production examples came as the firm was preparing to deliver the five remaining vehicles of this preproduction batch. The Carabinieri's RG-12s will use Iveco engines, instrument clusters, transfer boxes and other mechanical components - indeed, Iveco is the prime contractor for the project and will supply in-country support for the vehicles. The Italian RG-12s have a number of customised features, including the seats, a chilled drinking-water facility, a rear-view camera with a visual display on the driver's panel, an observation cupola, ABS braking and fire-suppression systems for the engine compartment and the wheel arches, ENGINEERING NEWS informs.